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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Chuck Berry (1926-2017)


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#21 LawrenceA

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 04:14 PM

Are you saying his sound got more "white" as he progressed?

 

Well first off, I don't think Chuck Berry's sound ever progressed much at all. He played what he played and it never really changed too much.

 

And what I'm saying is was what I posted: Berry's sound had more influence on white, guitar-driven rock music than on black R&B music. There were a lot more white kids picking up guitars and trying to sound like Chuck Berry than there were black kids. 

 

But when Chuck Berry started, his music was considered "race music" or "black music", alongside Bo Diddley: guitar-driven blues (like BB King or Jimmy Reed) sped up with a swing beat (like Big Joe Turner). He also established the guitar as the predominant instrument in rock music, which previously had been the saxophone (listen to Bill Haley or other early rock acts, and you'll hear saxophones doing what would become the guitar solos). Other rock pioneers like Little Richard and Fats Domino were piano players, and so it was Berry and Diddley that brought the guitar to prominence. Of course, this is a simplified history, but it's true.


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#22 Vautrin

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 04:12 PM

There wasn't as much competition on the r&b chart. And I am certain he sold a lot more records to whites than he did to blacks. And those who saw him live were mostly white. In the '50s, how many black artists can you say that about? I have a few under-50 black acquaintances, and upon mentioning Berry's death, they barely know who he was. He had tremendous influence on  future white artists, but little influence on future black artists.

It probably took sales of more records to have a high position on

the Hot 100 than on the R&B chart, but my point was that Berry

was pretty popular with black record buyers during his mid 1950s

to early 1960s heyday. 


Curse Sir Walter Raleigh, he was such a stupid get.


#23 DownGoesFrazier

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 04:02 PM

I see what you mean. Berry did have more influence on the direction guitar-driven white rock took than the direction black R&B took. But when Berry started, that was a "black sound", as well. 

Are you saying his sound got more "white" as he progressed?



#24 LawrenceA

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:57 PM

Prince was an outlier. He was really unlike any other black artist. It looks like it's me against the world on this point.

Of course, my point is not politically correct.

 

I see what you mean. Berry did have more influence on the direction guitar-driven white rock took than the direction black R&B took. But when Berry started, that was a "black sound", as well. 



#25 Princess of Tap

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:52 PM

Prince was an outlier. He was really unlike any other black artist. It looks like it's me against the world on this point.
Of course, my point is not politically correct.


Boy, you can say the same thing about any great artist--they're not like anybody else because they're a genius--

For example, who's like Stevie Wonder, who's like James Brown, who's like Aretha Franklin,and who's like Michael Jackson?
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#26 DownGoesFrazier

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:48 PM

I would say that Chuck Berry had a tremendous influence on Prince.

Prince was an outlier. He was really unlike any other black artist. It looks like it's me against the world on this point.

Of course, my point is not politically correct.



#27 Princess of Tap

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:46 PM

There wasn't as much competition on the r&b chart. And I am certain he sold a lot more records to whites than he did to blacks. And those who saw him live were mostly white. In the '50s, how many black artists can you say that about? I have a few under-50 black acquaintances, and upon mentioning Berry's death, they barely know who he was. He had tremendous influence on future white artists, but little influence on future black artists.


I would say that Chuck Berry had a tremendous influence on Prince.

#28 Princess of Tap

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:45 PM

Let's go to the charts. Actually Berry was as or more popular on the
Billboard R&B chart than he was on the Hot 100 chart. His hit singles
often went higher on R&B than Hot 100. He had three #1 singles on
R&B and only one #1 on Hot 100.

There were a lot of people contemporary with Berry like Fats Domino,
Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, etc. I would say of those, Berry
was likely the predominant influence on rock music, but not the sole
influence. I've noticed that when celebrities die their influence is
often exaggerated a bit.

I think it's Chuck Berry's unique guitar style, along with his vast composing skills, that made him such an outstanding influence in rock and roll music.

Mike Love said in his recent autobiography that he based his Beach Boy lyrics on Chuck Berry's style of writing. In a recent biography of Carl Wilson, it was stated that his guitar playing was primarily influenced by Chuck Berry and that the opening of Fun Fun Fun is a version of a Chuck Berry riff.

The Beach Boys style has been described as the harmonies of The Four Freshmen put over the musical style of Chuck Berry,which they actually did when they stole Sweet Little 16 and made it Surfin' USA without attributing anything initially to Chuck Berry.

Even though I had a collection of Chuck Berry original 45's when I was very young--my older brother managed to get a hold of them--I still missed out on a lot of his hit singles.

I learned the song Johnny B Goode from The Beach Boys live concert album and I learned the song Roll Over Beethoven from the Beatles Second Album. Those two songs were concert staples for my two favorite groups.

#29 DownGoesFrazier

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:38 PM

Let's go to the charts. Actually Berry was as or more popular on the

Billboard R&B chart than he was on the Hot 100 chart. His hit singles

often went higher on R&B than Hot 100. He had three #1 singles on

R&B and only one #1 on Hot 100. 

 

There were a lot of people contemporary with Berry like Fats Domino,

Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, etc. I would say of those, Berry

was likely the predominant influence on rock music, but not the sole

influence. I've noticed that when celebrities die their influence is

often exaggerated a bit. 

There wasn't as much competition on the r&b chart. And I am certain he sold a lot more records to whites than he did to blacks. And those who saw him live were mostly white. In the '50s, how many black artists can you say that about? I have a few under-50 black acquaintances, and upon mentioning Berry's death, they barely know who he was. He had tremendous influence on  future white artists, but little influence on future black artists.



#30 Vautrin

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:32 PM

Let's go to the charts. Actually Berry was as or more popular on the

Billboard R&B chart than he was on the Hot 100 chart. His hit singles

often went higher on R&B than Hot 100. He had three #1 singles on

R&B and only one #1 on Hot 100. 

 

There were a lot of people contemporary with Berry like Fats Domino,

Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, etc. I would say of those, Berry

was likely the predominant influence on rock music, but not the sole

influence. I've noticed that when celebrities die their influence is

often exaggerated a bit. 


Curse Sir Walter Raleigh, he was such a stupid get.


#31 DownGoesFrazier

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:14 PM

Well said.   The point I'm seeing (yet again), is that DGF pats himself on the back for claiming to know so much about music, when he really doesn't.

You pat yourself on the back for claiming to know so much about reading posts, when you really don't..... I'm just looking at results. Because Berry's fans were predominantly white, whether or not his music had "black" elements is irrelevant to my point.......I know a lot of rock and soul trivia, and I know what I like and don't like. I know very little about the elements of music.



#32 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 01:06 PM

I really can't figure out just what point you're trying to make.  What I'M trying to point out is, you CAN'T say something like "He was rock through and through" about Chuck Berry and then state "there was nothing "black" about Berry's music.  Just because maybe white kids dug him more.

 

That's like believing that because the British drink a lot of tea, and are known for a "tea time" tradition, you say "there's nothing Chinese  about tea!"

 

Remember....JAZZ is often and correctly claimed to be an African-American musical development.  Yet by the middle of the 20th century, most black jazz musicians moved to England and mainland Europe to find an appreciative audience since most black people in the states by that time quit giving the music it's due.   In fact, when I started building up my interest in it with listening to older and some newer recordings, I was mentored by an older black co-worker who always had an enthusiasm for it.  He would often loan me some of his albums in order to educate.  But  most of the black co-workers that were my age claimed to have NO use for it.

 

BTW--mentioned by a member in another forum I belong to...Are you familiar with an old Philly radio program called "Folklore"?

 

 

Sepiatone

 

Well said.   The point I'm seeing (yet again), is that DGF pats himself on the back for claiming to know so much about music, when he really doesn't.



#33 Sepiatone

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:56 AM

I really can't figure out just what point you're trying to make.  What I'M trying to point out is, you CAN'T say something like "He was rock through and through" about Chuck Berry and then state "there was nothing "black" about Berry's music.  Just because maybe white kids dug him more.

 

That's like believing that because the British drink a lot of tea, and are known for a "tea time" tradition, you say "there's nothing Chinese  about tea!"

 

Remember....JAZZ is often and correctly claimed to be an African-American musical development.  Yet by the middle of the 20th century, most black jazz musicians moved to England and mainland Europe to find an appreciative audience since most black people in the states by that time quit giving the music it's due.   In fact, when I started building up my interest in it with listening to older and some newer recordings, I was mentored by an older black co-worker who always had an enthusiasm for it.  He would often loan me some of his albums in order to educate.  But  most of the black co-workers that were my age claimed to have NO use for it.

 

BTW--mentioned by a member in another forum I belong to...Are you familiar with an old Philly radio program called "Folklore"?

 

 

Sepiatone


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#34 DownGoesFrazier

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 08:21 AM

Gosh, what a maroon.

 

Well then, there also wasn't anything "white" about the music of ELVIS PRESLEY,  GENE VINCENT,  EDDIE COCHRAN, DION and THE BELMONTS,  BUDDY HOLLY, RITCHIE VALENS and any of the OTHER so-called rock'n'roll "pioneers".

 

Chuck didn't appeal to black audiences?  Well then why WERE all those clubs he played in before he started making records chock FULL of black people then?  And just LOVIN' it?

 

 

Sepiatone

Your post totally failed to address my point. I'm talking about post-Maybellene., and I'll bet if you looked at the specialized Billboard charts from the later '50s (Top 40 race music, or whatever they were called back then), Berry's records didn't rank very high. At his appearances, there were mostly white faces in the crowd. 



#35 Sepiatone

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 08:13 AM

There was really nothing "black" about Berry's music. Just like the later Hendrix, he was rock through and through. I doubt if black audiences were big fans of Berry.

Gosh, what a maroon.

 

Well then, there also wasn't anything "white" about the music of ELVIS PRESLEY,  GENE VINCENT,  EDDIE COCHRAN, DION and THE BELMONTS,  BUDDY HOLLY, RITCHIE VALENS and any of the OTHER so-called rock'n'roll "pioneers".

 

Chuck didn't appeal to black audiences?  Well then why WERE all those clubs he played in before he started making records chock FULL of black people then?  And just LOVIN' it?

 

 

Sepiatone


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#36 GGGGerald

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 07:16 PM

Sadder still, the Great Black American blues artists were completely ignored in the mainstream United States until the white British rockers came over to the Ed Sullivan Show in New York City and blasted the mainstream press about how great they were.

When they asked the Stones, the Animals or The Yardbirds who they looked up to and idolized, all they could say was Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, and Howlin' Wolf, just to name a few.

These Black artists were not just forgotten in American art, they were simply non-existent, invisible in the mainstream. They were barely making a living-- not getting the audience or the money they truly deserved for their level artistry.

It was very sad that it took these white artists from the UK to inform the American public about their own Great Black American blues artists in the United States.

 

I don't mean those artists. Not blues legends. I mean artists recording at the same time as those British guys. But, could never get on the radio. Too loud for the soul stations. Too black for the rock stations. In those days, without airplay, you were basically dead in the water.

 

Its the old stereotype: If a white man plays a guitar, its rock. If a black man plays the same song with the same guitar, its blues or jazz. Which is strange since there was a time you couldn't be considered a rock guitarist until you could play the Chuck Berry open. 

 

There is a story about a tour or blues artists in the late 50's to England that ignited all those kids to pick up guitars and play. All they had was Elvis movies to go by. Then they saw the real thing and it blew their minds. They had no trouble getting on all radio stations.

 

 

Thank goodness for internet radio. I can hear all the music radio has refused to play. I have found more new artists in the past few years than ever.



#37 jakeem

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 06:35 PM

Unfortunately, back then it was. As a matter of fact, Berry didn't really get his due until those British acts came over and covered his tunes. He never got it directly. And there were so many others who never had a chance for the same reasons. Those are names most will never know. Because they either had to change their sound or find a 9 to 5 job. 

 

He sorta did get his due directly. His only No. 1 hit on the Billboard pop chart was the risqué novelty song "My Ding-a-Ling." It was the top tune in the nation for two weeks in October 1972.

 

chuck-berry-my-dingaling-1972-18.jpg



#38 Princess of Tap

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 06:35 PM

Unfortunately, back then it was. As a matter of fact, Berry didn't really get his due until those British acts came over and covered his tunes. He never got it directly. And there were so many others who never had a chance for the same reasons. Those are names most will never know. Because they either had to change their sound or find a 9 to 5 job.

Because if you think Hendrix and Berry were the only black rockers, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Of course ,they're the few that get played on "rock and roll " radio then and now.


Sadder still, the Great Black American blues artists were completely ignored in the mainstream United States until the white British rockers came over to the Ed Sullivan Show in New York City and blasted the mainstream press about how great they were.

When they asked the Stones, the Animals or The Yardbirds who they looked up to and idolized, all they could say was Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, and Howlin' Wolf, just to name a few.

These Black artists were not just forgotten in American art, they were simply non-existent, invisible in the mainstream. They were barely making a living-- not getting the audience or the money they truly deserved for their level artistry.

It was very sad that it took these white artists from the UK to inform the American public about their own Great Black American blues artists in the United States.
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#39 GGGGerald

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 05:51 PM

There was really nothing "black" about Berry's music. Just like the later Hendrix, he was rock through and through. I doubt if black audiences were big fans of Berry.

 

Unfortunately, back then it was. As a matter of fact, Berry didn't really get his due until those British acts came over and covered his tunes. He never got it directly. And there were so many others who never had a chance for the same reasons. Those are names most will never know. Because they either had to change their sound or find a 9 to 5 job. 

 

Because if you think Hendrix and Berry were the only black rockers, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Of course ,they're the few that get played on "rock and roll " radio then and now.


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#40 Sepiatone

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 05:38 PM

Who did Sam Cooke, Clyde McPhatter, The Drifters, Jackie Wilson appeal to?-- not just white people not just black people but rock and roll audiences in general. All the black artists were on AM radio and they appealed to the mainstream - - who do you think bought all those records of The Shirelles, the Crystals, The Cookies, The Orlons?

And should I also bring up The Coasters and Ben E. King-- these were rock and roll artists who appealed to everyone.

HEAR, HEAR!

 

Now, didn't I point out in some thread a couple years ago about how the old AM "rock" radio stations were more diverse in their playlists than many modern day FM stations?

 

Yeah,  I remember a BIG hit back in the "day" being "Duke Of Earl"  by Gene Chandler.  Or "100 Pounds of Clay" by Gene McDaniels.  A couple of my favorites,   "Ya Ya" by Lee Dorsey and "Tossin' and Turnin'  " by Bobby Lewis were also big on the stations all us "Lily white" kids would crank up on the AM dial.  And THOSE guys certainly weren't in the Klan!  PLUS all you mentioned there, Princess.  But strangley, while black R'n'R and R&B artists appealed to many WHITE kids( and others of various ages) somehow a lot of WHITE rock'n'roll artists never appealed much to BLACK kids.  

 

Back in the '60's here in Metro Detroit, we had radio stations like WJBK, WKMH, WXYZ and Windsor Ont.'s CKLW that played a racially diverse mix of popular music.  But there were TWO "black only" stations (WCHB & WJLB)  that played recordings by black artists only.  I don't think this was only practiced in Detroit as I remember comedian  CARL WAXMAN at Mark Ridley's COMEDY CASTLE posing the query.....

 

"Why is it when I'm stopped at a red light and a carfull of black kids pulls up next to me, they have their radio on a station I CAN'T FIND  on MY radio???"  :D

 

I do recall many a time leaning out a buddy's car and yelling the question to a carload of black guys, "HEY! What STATION you guys on??"  because the tune we were hearing was GREAT!   ;)

 

Sepiatone


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